Amendment to CLPRA by the centre to legalize child labour in family firms is being protested by child activists

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Many child right activists protest against the central government’s move where they allow the children who are below 14 years can work in family enterprises and these activists have told that this move of the government as worsening. The activist who said that the amendment of Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act 1986 (CLPRA) have been very astonishing as they have reversed the work of the child rights activists as the centre has legalised exploiting the children by allowing them to work.

This amendment is against the right of children to live their childhood and against the life of dignity that has been granted by the Constitution of India and UNCRC for which India is a signatory. Many eminent personalities like Indira Jaising, former NCPCR chairperson Shantha Sinha, Dipa Dixit Vandana Prasad, Harsh Mander, and Enakshi Ganguly have signed the letter to Prime Minister Mr Modi. These activists say that amendment to the Act does not end child labour but it preserves the child labour as bonded labourer and thus enchaining them. Their right to education and carefree life of childhood is lost under the new law. This was not acceptable as it did not help the child in any way. These activists have asked in their letter that the proposed amendment to do some changes in it where during vacations child labour should be dropped in the best interest of the child so that they get time to enjoy their free time to play and learn. Children below 14 were banned to be employed in 18 hazardous industries as per the previous child labour law.

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Amendments in the new law clearly state that the children who are below 14 and 18 years should not be employed in hazardous industries.  These changes also have brought out stricter punishment to all the employers who violate the law but there is no penalty to the parents for their first offence where they send their child to work in such places but the employer can be punished for their first offence. If parents repeat the offence then they are penalised with fine of up to 10000 rupees.

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by Sushma Javare.